Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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ST. PAUL — Last week's precinct caucus governor straw poll has taken its second victim: former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "I am grateful for the support and encouragement I have received," the Democrat said Monday, Feb. 12. "So, it is with a heavy heart that I announce today the suspension of my campaign for governor of Minnesota." State Rep. Paul Thissen of Minneapolis dropped out of the race the day after the Feb. 6 caucuses.
ST. PAUL — Gary Wayne Jackson Jr. has pleaded not guilty to killing his 23-month-old son early this year. Jackson appeared in federal court in St. Paul Monday, Feb. 12, and entered his plea during a brief arraignment. Federal Magistrate Judge Leo Brisbois gave a federal prosecutor and Jackson's attorney a March 5 deadline to file motions. A hearing on motions is planned in front of Brisbois March 26 in the Duluth federal courthouse.
ST. PAUL—Rebecca Otto won the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's straw poll for governor in the 8th Congressional District. Three days later, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan announced he would not seek re-election. There could be a thread connecting the two. The 8th is a massive district, stretching from Canada to the northern Twin Cities suburbs, covering northeastern, north central and east central Minnesota.
ST. PAUL — It is dangerous to draw too many conclusions from precinct caucuses, especially from non-binding straw polls conducted there, but one fact stands out from this week's caucus night: Almost three times as many Democrats showed up at the Tuesday, Feb. 6, caucuses than Republicans. That could be a scary fact for the GOP, whose loyalists are known for turning out.
ST. PAUL -- Second-time Minnesota governor candidate Jeff Johnson easily won a Tuesday, Feb. 6 straw poll, but could face a bigger obstacle in coming weeks: Tim Pawlenty. With all votes tallied from Republican precinct caucuses throughout Minnesota, Johnson had 45 percent of the vote of nearly 11,000 caucus attendees.
ST. PAUL—Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty stole the spotlight from Republican candidates in the governor's race Tuesday, Feb. 6, hours before party loyalists gather to pick their favorite candidate in a straw poll. The two-term Republican governor made a surprise announcement Tuesday morning that he will leave the Financial Services Roundtable next month. As leader of the Washington-based group, Pawlenty has been spokesman and lobbyist for financial services companies.
ST. PAUL — Former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said she does not feel God has called her to run for U.S. Senate, so is staying out of the race. Bachmann told a Minnesota radio host during the weekend that she asked God for guidance. "I just took it to the Lord in a very quiet way." But, she said, God did not tell her to run.
ST. PAUL—U.S. Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota delivered the national Democratic weekly address one day short of a month in office. The senator Gov. Mark Dayton appointed to replace Al Franken in Washington said in the video released Friday, Feb. 2, that she is open to working with Republicans. At the same time, she was critical of them.
ST. PAUL — A high school junior leads an effort to prevent sex trafficking around Minnesota. Jessica Melnik of Hopkins High School founded Girls United Minnesota after she and friends saw one of their classmates being trafficked. Now, she is pushing state legislation to modify current sexual abuse prevention law to include sexual exploitation prevention education in schools. "This is a small, but we think common sense step," state Sen. Paul Anderson, R-Plymouth, said of the bill he will offer.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota precinct caucus leaders ran out of ballots as long lines of people waited to get into the political meetings, with drivers in blocks-long traffic jams not even there yet. About 300 showed up at a Willmar site that hosted 75 four years earlier. That was 2016. Don't expect the same turnout at the 2018 caucuses on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Chairman Ken Martin of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party said the caucuses will draw thousands, but short of the record 321,354 that came two years ago.